Research Highlight

Silk protein for scar-less wound healing 

doi:10.1038/nindia.2016.154 Published online 24 November 2016

Researchers have synthesized antibiotic-coated nanofibrous mats that can be used as material to dress and heal wounds caused by disease-related foot ulcers and various infections1

Chronic wounds like diabetic foot ulcers, venous ulcers and pressure sores affect millions globally. Such wounds are difficult to heal and sometimes necessitate amputations.

To find an alternative dressing material for faster healing, scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati and West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, Kolkata prepared the nanofibrous mats by blending silk protein fibroin with a polymer. The mats were then loaded with epidermal growth factor and coated with antibiotic ciprofloxacin.   

Besides having capacity to contain swelling, the mats efficiently released the antibiotic which inhibited the growth of infectious bacteria.   

The mats were able to seal wounds in rabbits with test subjects growing all the cellular components of skin such as collagen bundles, skin sebaceous glands, hair follicles, nerve endings and blood vessels within three weeks.

This ability to grow all the skin components suggests that the mats can potentially achieve scar-less wound healing.

When implanted beneath the mice skin for six weeks, the mats did not cause any adverse immune reactions. “Cultured human skin cells also proliferated on the mats suggesting that they are biocompatible and could be used to regenerate skin,” says lead researcher Biman B. Mandal from IIT, Guwahati.


1. Chouhan, D. et al. Role of non-mulberry silk fibroin in deposition and regulation of extracellular matrix towards accelerated wound healing. Acta. Biomaterialia.(2016) doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2016.10.019